The prices in this guide are accurate as of 2023
If you live in a period property, there is a good chance you have a chimney. For many people, a chimney is a beautiful addition to their home, that can also offer an extra heating source.
However, chimneys also take up a lot of valuable space, especially in bedrooms where the occupied wall could be used as extra storage space.
If you have central heating and are looking to create more space in your home, removing your chimney breast could be a great solution. Alternatively, you may be looking to remove your chimney breast because your chimney is damaged or has deteriorated over time. Removing a chimney can also improve your home’s insulation.
This guide covers everything you need to know about removing a chimney breast, as well as the cost to remove other parts of your chimney, and whether or not you’ll need planning permissions and a structural engineer.
Chimney breasts often have a structural function, so you’ll need to hire a professional to ensure your chimney is removed safely. If the upper part of your chimney breast is not supported properly, a removal can cause uneven loading on your wall.
You could pay anywhere between £2,900 and £4,500 for a chimney breast removal.
Chimneys come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Some are located in the centre of the home, whilst others are connected with a neighbour’s chimney. It is difficult to estimate how much your chimney removal will cost, as it will depend on a range of factors, including how easy your chimney is to access, and where you live in the UK (cost of labour rises in London and the South East). Removing a chimney breast across a ground and first floor will cost more than removing it from just a ground floor.
For a more accurate quote, speak to a skilled tradesperson today.
What does a chimney removal involve?
A chimney breast is the part of your chimney that you can see from inside your home, and which projects outwards from the wall, creating the necessary space for a fireplace. The chimney breast starts at the hearth but continues upwards through the rooms and loft above it until it reaches the base of your chimney stack.
Homeowners tend to remove the brickwork chimney breast and leave the stack when they want to free up space in the home, but without costs rising too much. In this scenario, the stack is left supported (avoiding disruptive work such as roof alterations), whilst the breast is removed and then plastered over.
On the other hand, the chimney stack is the small structure that projects from your roof, and which directs smoke out of your home, via what is known as a chimney flue. Homeowners tend to remove stacks because they’ve been damaged, causing a risk that the stack might fall and injure someone.
You can have one or multiple chimney breasts removed (just the one on the ground floor, or a bedroom chimney breast as well). Or you could opt to remove the chimney breast but leave the stack. You could also remove just the stack and nothing else.
You will need to hire a structural engineer to come and assess your project before you begin. If you remove a ground floor chimney breast, the stack above it will need to be sufficiently supported. Additional structural support won’t be needed if you remove both stack and chimney.
If your chimney breast is part of a load-bearing wall, you will need to ensure that removing it doesn’t compromise the structural integrity of your property. A structural engineer will be able to advise you during your consultation and will tell you whether your chimney breast is supported or not.
Old chimneys can cause damp to penetrate your home. Removing your chimney can create a more regular space, generating more opportunities to style your room and organise your furniture.
You will need to consider how removing your chimney breast will impact noise insulation, ventilation, the potential effects on a neighbour’s chimney, and possible fire safety breaches, particularly in relation to party walls. A skilled tradesperson will be able to help you ensure your removal is carried out safely.
Usually, as well as structural support, your chimney remover will also ensure the space is appropriately insulated and that it undergoes damp-proofing.
Removing a chimney breast is a messy job that will create a lot of debris and dust. You should clear your room of all furniture and seal it off from the rest of the property before works begin. You may also want to hire a post construction cleaning specialist to professionally clean your room after your chimney breast is removed.
You can hire a chimney breast remover here.
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How much does it cost to remove a chimney breast?
How much your chimney breast removal will cost depends on a range of factors, including:
- Whether the chimney is spread over multiple floors (such as a living room and the above first floor bedroom), or whether it is on one floor only
- How many parts of your chimney you are looking to have removed, such as whether you want the stack removed as well
- The type of chimney you have, and the materials it is made from (some are harder to dispose of than others)
- Whether your chimney is part of a load bearing wall
- How easy your chimney is to access, and its size
- How old your chimney is, and whether your chimney is damaged or rotting
- Potential planning permission fees
- Additional costs such as the right finish and any painting needed (if these aren’t included in your quote) and cleaning services after the chimney has been removed, as well as skip hire (one six-yard skip costs around £250 to hire)
- Where you live in the UK, with cost of labour rising in London and the South East by as much as 20% on average.
As a result, it’s not really possible to accurately predict how much your chimney removal will cost. However, on average, a chimney breast removal could cost you:
|Type of chimney removal||Average cost||How long will it take?|
|Chimney breast removal (ground floor)||£2,900||2 – 3 days|
|Chimney breast removal (first floor)||£3,100||3 – 4 days|
|Entire chimney breast removal (but not the stack)||£4,000||4 – 5 days|
|Entire chimney breast removal (+ stack removal)||£4,500+||Roughly a week|
For a more accurate quote, let us know about your project, and get some free quotes today.
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Do you need planning permission to remove a chimney breast?
You won’t need planning permission to make any internal alterations to your chimney breast (as long as you don’t live in a listed building). Moreover, external works like stack removal are classed as permitted development and automatically have planning permission.
However, there are building regulations connected with removing a chimney breast. Building works need to comply with Part A of Building Regulations. This means that you’ll need to notify your local authority, who will send a building control officer to survey and then issue a certificate to prove that all legal requirements have been met. This will cost around £200. Alternatively, you can opt to hire an approved inspector, which is usually faster.
If the removal of your chimney affects party structures, you will also have to serve a party wall notice. You may need to hire a party wall surveyor if your chimney is built against a party wall. This will cost around £800.
A structural engineer can advise you on how best to support your chimney stack after the chimney breast is removed. They cost roughly £200 an hour to hire.
Does removing a chimney breast devalue a house?
It is difficult to give a concrete answer about whether or not removing your chimney breast will devalue your home.
In general, more modern properties benefit from the removal, in that it offers more space and doesn’t really detract from the “character” of the home like it does for period properties.
With older properties, there is the possibility that removing your chimney could lead to your property losing some value. However, if your chimney is old or damaged, it could be unattractive to potential buyers.
Removing a chimney breast is no easy task and requires skilled tradespeople who will be able to dispose of your chimney without causing structural damage to your home.
We do not recommend you attempt to DIY, as this could put your home and safety into danger. Make sure you contact your local authority before you begin work on your chimney.
How much you’ll spend on your chimney removal depends on a large range of factors, from the size and age of your chimney to structural considerations and ease of access. For this reason, it’s hard to say with accuracy how much it could cost.
For a more accurate quote, and to speak to some skilled tradespeople in your area, let us know what you have in mind.